PELHAM — A new memorial at Pelham Memorial School holds special meaning for Ray Wilkins.
It bears the names of his three beloved, deceased sons — Kyle, Matthew and Patrick.
He passes the memorial every day on his way to the office. He works at the school on the maintenance staff.
“I see it every morning,” Wilkins said yesterday. “And I think about my boys.”
The boys were triplets but destined for a short life. The diagnosis of muscular dystrophy came at age 5.
Wilkins and his wife, Lisa, lost Kyle last January at age 21. Patrick had died a few months earlier, also at age 21. Brother Matt had died seven years before at age 15.
The Wilkinses live in Chelmsford but are much liked by the Pelham community.
Pelham kids who passed through the middle school over the years knew Wilkins well. He has worked there 30 years.
The Wilkinses no longer coach youth sports, but they did. He was a baseball and basketball coach; she coached volleyball.
“The memorial means a lot because Mr. Wilkins has been such a valuable part of the community and our building for 30 years,” Principal Stephen Secor said.
Though the Wilkins family lived in Chelmsford, a lot of the staff at Pelham Memorial got to know the boys.
“The boys would be in the building a lot,” Secor said.
Natasha Goyette, now a mother herself, had gone through the Pelham schools and remembered the Wilkinses.
When her mother called to tell Goyette about Kyle’s death, she had to do something.
“I needed to channel that into something good,” Goyette said.
The something good is the memorial, to be dedicated next Thursday in a simple ceremony at 5:30 p.m. outside the school.
Goyette got the ball rolling, Frank Sullivan from the Good Neighbor Fund got on board, the community followed without hesitation.